Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Four R's to Recovery

So far this week, I've met a few people who are starting a new exercise routine. I guess it's part of a resolution, but I hope there's a goal: To lose/gain 5 pounds, have more definition (arms, legs, abs), tighten the ole keister, or train for a 5k, 10K, Half or Full Marathon.
Either way, I love when people 
take on a new exercise regimen.
I get so excited for them!
I ask a million questions, and then I get, "What about those recovery drinks or protein bars? One person today said that she and her husband joined a gym (Yeay!). Now her husband bought a protein powder for recovery.
So what are the guidelines when it comes to recovery?
Do you drink protein shakes, 
or consume any recovery drinks post exercise?
Great concept! 
Too often reality!
Optimal recovery is essential for good health and for warding off injuries.
Many trainers push protein and some even push those protein recovery drinks. After years of research showing that water and carbohydrates make for a great recovery drink, new and recent research shows how protein is important in recovery because it helps to repair muscles, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and support adaptations resulting from training - such as increase enzymes, increase mitochondria (energy factories in our cells), increase capillarization (increased capillaries to carry >blood and more oxygen).  Hence, the four R's:
Repair: Consume some protein after exercise. Research shows that lucine, an essential amino acid (building blocks of protein) is great for muscle repair. That's why you will hear people drinking chocolate milk as a recovery drink. The whey protein in milk is a great source of leucine. Researchers do not recommend a large intake of protein, followed by a long period without protein. This would be like gulping down a huge protein shake. Instead, try to consume about 20-25g (about 80-100 calories) of protein over the next 24-48hours post-exercise. This could be a glass of milk or chocolate milk, then some yogurt, and later some edamame as a snack.
Refuel: After a workout, carbohydrates will provide energy and rebuild energy stores in your muscles. How much you need depends on how intense you exercise. A good rule of thumb is 1-1.2g/kg within the 1st hour after exercise. To get weight in kilograms (kg) simply divide your weight by 2.2. Then multiply by 1 or 1.2 to get grams of carbs. So if you weigh 110pounds, divide that by 2.2 = 50kg, then multiply 50kg by 1 (= 50g) or 50kg by 1.2 (= 60g). So a range of how much carbohydrate a 110pound person would eat is 50g - 60g (or about 200 - 240 calories) of carbohydrate to maximize post workout recovery. Great sources of carbs for recovery include milk, yogurt, banana, or a bowl of cereal, quinoa, rice, or oatmeal.
Rehydrate: The best way to determine how much you need to rehydrate is if you weigh yourself before and after you work out. For every pound you lost, you want to consume from 16oz to 24oz of fluids.
Re-invigorate: Go for whole, unprocessed foods: Yogurt and banana vs Muscle milk or Gatorade with protein. The yogurt has probiotic which will enhance your gut flora. The banana has phytonutrients and antioxidants. Probiotics, phytonutrients, and antioxidants work to keep your immune system strong, help you to fight disease, and inflammation. Bonus for those looking to lose weight: healthy gut flora has been linked to weight loss and improved metabolism.
So, based on this:
Are you recovering properly?
What's your favorite recovery food?
My favorite recovery food, hands down, is greek organic yogurt (full of whey) with blueberries (full of phytonutrients and antioxidants) and walnuts (a great source of Omega-3)
Train Smart Today!
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